Corneal dystrophies are broadly defined as inherited disorders that affect any layer of the cornea and are usually progressive, bilateral conditions that do not have systemic effects. The 2015 International Classification of Corneal Dystrophies classifies corneal dystrophies into four classes: epithelial and subepithelial dystrophies, epithelial-stromal TGFBI dystrophies, stromal dystrophies and endothelial dystrophies. Whereas some corneal dystrophies may result in few or mild symptoms and morbidity throughout a patient's lifetime, others may progress and eventually result in substantial visual and ocular disturbances that require medical or surgical intervention. Corneal transplantation, either with full-thickness or partial-thickness donor tissue, may be indicated for patients with advanced corneal dystrophies. Although corneal transplantation techniques have improved considerably over the past two decades, these surgeries are still associated with postoperative risks of disease recurrence, graft failure and other complications that may result in blindness. In addition, a global shortage of cadaveric corneal graft tissue critically limits accessibility to corneal transplantation in some parts of the world. Ongoing advances in gene therapy, regenerative therapy and cell augmentation therapy may eventually result in the development of alternative, novel treatments for corneal dystrophies, which may substantially improve the quality of life of patients with these disorders.